ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WDHN) — The parishioners of St. John the Evangelist in Enterprise celebrated its Hispanic community with music, dancing, and fellowship last Sunday.
While it is a thriving community now, the parish did not have a strong Latino presence until 9/11 closed off Fort Rucker to the general public.
“We didn’t have Mass in Spanish over here in Enterprise, and after 9/11 is when everything started when we could not go to Fort Rucker anymore, so everyone moved over to St. John’s,” event organizer Guadalupe Reyes said.
Reyes said Puerto Ricans and Mexicans made up the bulk of the church’s Hispanic community at first, but as the years passed, different nationalities joined the mix, with Guatemalans being the largest. Several parishioners said that being able to come together for events like this allow them to learn Latino culture can be so different.
“I think it’s really nice meeting other people that are from different places like that just because our Spanish is different,” Kimberly Juarez said. “Our food, our cultures, everything’s different, and it’s nice to learn about different cultures and stuff.”
Reyes said by showcasing their traditional foods, dances, and costumes, it helps pass along their history to the next generation and maintain the connection to their ancestors.
“Well it’s a happiness for us to share our culture because it brings us back to our time when we were growing up in our country, and to see kids, to see the food, the music, the costumes, it just brings us back to where we come from,” she said.
Event organizers said they hope to make next year’s event bigger with even more nationalities participating.